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Teagasc Announces the Largest Number of Awards ever under the 2013 Walsh Fellowships Postgraduate Programme

The Teagasc Authority has announced the award of 64 new postgraduate fellowships, mainly to PhD level, under its Walsh Fellowship Postgraduate Programme. This is the largest number of approvals made since the commencement of the Programme and reflects the increasing number of high quality proposals received and the Authority’s acknowledgement of the huge impact of the Programme on research output. These awards represent an overall investment of over €4 million in training the young scientists who will help drive forward Ireland’s growing agri-food industry. The new young graduates will join about 140 existing Walsh Fellows, under the joint supervision of Teagasc and University staff members in undertaking research in agriculture, food, environmental science, agri-food economics, rural development, horticulture and other related disciplines.

The Walsh Fellowship Programme is named after Dr Tom Walsh, the first Director of the Agricultural Research Institute (now Teagasc), and a prime mover in developing agricultural and food research in Ireland. The Programme is a key component of Teagasc’s national research programme and promotes closer liaison and collaboration between Teagasc and the nine universities on the island of Ireland, as well as with Institutes of Technology in Ireland and with universities in Europe, the US and New Zealand.

The postgraduate programme has taken on an increasingly international dimension in recent years and twelve of the 2013 awards will involve students training in universities outside of Ireland. Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, said; “Science is becoming an increasingly global discipline and it is vital that our best students are exposed to the best international science and research outside of Ireland. I am also pleased to note that with a view to further broadening this international dimension, Teagasc awarded short-term overseas training grants in 2012 to six current Walsh Fellows to spend short training periods in approved universities and research institutes outside of Ireland, and that up to ten such awards will be made in the current year.”

Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research, Teagasc, said; “The training of Walsh Fellows is very much focused on advancing Teagasc’s mission of promoting innovation in the agri-food sector. The Programme has proved to be remarkably effective in meeting the training needs of young graduates and directing them into high-grade employment in industry, academia and the wider public sector. Through ongoing adaptation to the changing scientific and industrial environment, Teagasc will ensure that the Programme continues to address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.”

The Programme is funded through Teagasc Grant-in-Aid, the FIRM and STIMULUS research funds operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, other national research funds and the EU Framework Programme.